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A common condition could be overdiagnosed, experts agree

A misdiagnosis is a serious problem that people must address as quickly as possible. One thing that has become clear is that some diagnoses happen far too often. For instance, the diagnosis rate of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has increased over time, which could be an indication that it's being overdiagnosed.

Between 1997 and 2016, the number of children being diagnosed with this condition increased from 6.1 percent to 10.2 percent. The change is a concern for a few reasons, but there are questions to be asked. For example, is the growth of diagnoses due to better diagnostic criteria? Are children more likely to have ADHD due to social or genetic factors today than in the past? These are both questions to ask to learn more about whether or not mass numbers of children have been misdiagnosed.

One thing is obvious about the diagnoses of ADHD: It's more prominent in boys and most often in nonHispanic African-American boys at that. This disparity between genders could come down to the way ADHD is diagnosed and how it presents in children. Females tend to present with attention deficit issues, while boys may show more hyperactivity.

Experts have suggested that many children diagnosed with ADHD may be improperly diagnosed. There are many conditions that can cause children to lose their attention spans or act hyperactive. Even social differences now compared to 10 or 20 years ago makes a difference, like in schools where it's common to see children sitting for longer periods of time compared to in the past. Regardless of the diagnosis, one thing is clear: Children are struggling with behavior, emotions and social issues. These are conditions that need to be addressed.

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